Several times in the past, critics have pointed the proverbial finger at Dancehall music for the growing ills in society. However, it’s not just in Jamaica where that blame game’s being played.
In Antigua, there has been a recent trend of violent behavior amongst young people, with two school stabbings in two days and a brawl at a local comprehensive school earlier this month. There’s been growing concern and outrage about these incidents and with that in mind, one Antiguan woman has put the blame squarely on Dancehall music for triggering these occurrences.
In a letter to the editor issued to local newspaper, the Antigua Observer, Mary John asked the question of why her country has allowed Jamaica’s most popular genre to take over and influence their society.
John writes in the letter entitled Ban Those Violent Dancehall Songs, “Dancehall is not our cultural music. Why is it most predominant? Why is the government allowing another country’s cultural music, which is such a terrible influence on society to totally take over?”
John also called for the attention of Antigua’s Minister of National Security, Dr. Errol Cort and the Minister of Education, Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro to further examine this problem, labeling Dancehall as ‘noise’ and pointing to a December 2009 article in the Daily Observer where Cort said that the government would move to ban artistes whose lyrics promote violence from performing in Antigua.
There has since been public backing on Cort’s suggestion with promoters and other persons calling in on Antiguan talk shows and asking that such artistes be permitted from entering the island.
Meanwhile, John continued her rant against Dancehall, claiming that 90 percent of youths in Antigua who own iPods listen to such music and are being led astray as a result.
“How can the students prepare their minds for learning, listening to this noise which promotes violence and is filled with such lewd and nasty lyrics?” she asked.
“There is no doubt in my mind that dancehall music is a huge contributing factor to the violent and aggressive behaviour of our youth in Antigua.”
In closing her letter, John called for bans of IPod and cellphone use in schools and urged that sound systems not be allowed to play Dancehall publicly, particularly in St. John’s and events that school children will attend.
Read John’s full letter to the Antigua Observer here: http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=73116